Intelligent Automation of business processes is becoming more and more popular among companies from many sectors. Business is realizing that AI-assisted robotization is inevitable. However, the implementation of Intelligent Automation is associated with great changes and for many organizations it is usually a step into the unknown. In this article, we will show you how to start implementing Intelligent Automation in your enterprise, what challenges await you and how to face them.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

What challenges do we face when implementing Intelligent Automation?

When introducing innovative technologies to the company, we will face great changes and difficult decisions. The implementation of Intelligent Automation is a complex process that also involves many challenges and may seem like a risky change at first. What does it come from?

From the very beginning, gaining knowledge about Intelligent Automation is a big challenge for entrepreneurs. Although this concept appears more and more often in common workflow, it is not so easy to obtain detailed and reliable information about it. Let’s make it up.

Therefore, it is worth remembering that Intelligent Automation is a combination of Artificial Intelligence and Robotic Process Automation mechanisms. It is an extension of simple rule-based automation technologies with AI’s ability to recognize and learn from documents.

You can read more about this in our article. “Intelligent Automation: What it is and how it helps businesses in digital transformation.”

When Intelligent Automation becomes a clear and understandable concept for us, we will face another dilemma: how to implement it in the activities of our own enterprise and find practical applications on specific business processes.

And here we will encounter other obstacles: the lack of a developed strategy and the lack of support from specialists who would guide you through the automation process step by step. It will be particularly acute for us when the company is just starting its adventure with automation in general.

obstacles related to the implementation of an automation project

Deloitte analysts investigated the main obstacles to implementing automation projects. They include fragmentation of processes and IT infrastructure and systems, the lack of a clear vision in the field of Intelligent Automation, implementation cost and management support.
Source: Deloitte, 2019: https://www2.deloitte.com/pl/pl/pages/technology/articles/raport-Inteligentna-Automatyzacja.html

Deloitte analysts checked the main obstacles in the implementation of automation projects. Fragmentation of processes and IT infrastructure and systems proved to be the two biggest obstacles. 

How to identify process areas related to Intelligent Automation?

Identification of process areas consists of three main steps and begins with process identification. There are many ways to identify the process, but the simplest of them is to talk to employees. Nobody in the company will know better where to find bottlenecks or repetitive, monotonous activities than the employees who are responsible for these processes.

Conversations with employees are the basis, which can then be extended to the use of technology or software aimed at checking the activities of employees and finding potential elements worth automation.

The second stage is determining the metrics, i.e. the number of processed cases, the time needed to handle them and the determination of the human resources needed.

The next step is to identify the limitations. The limitation may be whether we have sensitive data, whether the data quality is sufficiently high, whether the data is stored in the system in the right way, and whether we are not bound by legal conditions.

Intelligent Automation has been around for a long time. More and more companies implement it, so it is worth taking advantage of their experience. It is worth getting acquainted with the existing use cases, talking to companies that are already implementing Intelligent Automation or asking about suppliers’ recommendations.

How to choose processes for Intelligent Automation?

Analysts from the Gartner Group say that as much as 70-90% of financial and accounting processes have the potential for automation. However, how do you choose the right processes? The potential for automation can be assessed based on six criteria.

  1. The analysis begins with an indication of the transaction volume and human resources. Determining the number of transactions, processed documents and the number of people working on a specific process gives information about the size and complexity of the process.
  2. One of the main goals of implementing Intelligent Automation is to increase revenue and, at the same time, reduce the company’s costs. Thanks to the previously determined volume, we can estimate by how much the number of transactions will increase or by how much the query service time will be reduced.
  3. As the systems operate on data, the effectiveness of automation depends on the quality, quantity and availability of data. Therefore, it is necessary to analyze the available data for their suitability.

The next step is to analyze the characteristics of the process.

  1. Is the process made of rules? The more rules and repetitive patterns, and the fewer exceptions and irregularities, the easier it is to automate the process.
  2. Is the process stable? It is not profitable to invest in a process that in a year will be completely different than today.
  3. Is the process centralized? The greater the dispersion, the more people are involved in the process, and thus the process becomes longer and more complicated.

Scoring of potential for automation

An example of a process analysis in the context of examining its potential for automation.
Source: Alphamoon’s own materials

All the above criteria have an impact on the potential of the process for automation, and after analyzing and summarizing them, we get the answer whether the automation of the process will be profitable for us.

How to build a strategy for implementing Intelligent Automation in the enterprise?

The implementation of Intelligent Automation is not a one-time investment. It is a process under which a specially dedicated strategy should be developed, consistent with the strategy of the entire company. Why?

If the enterprise implements Intelligent Automation only on the basis of an AI strategy, costs for the entire enterprise are reduced by 14%, and revenues increased by 3%. With consistent AI implementation strategies and enterprise strategies, costs can be reduced by as much as 24%, and revenues increased by up to 8%.

Entrepreneurs have different approaches to the implementation strategy of Intelligent Automation. The Deloitte survey shows that only 29% of respondents have a consistent strategy for implementing IA in the enterprise.
Source: Deloitte, 2019: https://www2.deloitte.com/pl/pl/pages/technology/articles/raport-Inteligentna-Automatyzacja.html

That is why it is worth delving into the subject of strategy, which can be approached in various ways depending on the enterprise and the degree of its development. We show the three main approaches below.

  1. When a company does not use automation solutions and is just starting its adventure with automation, first of all, try to estimate the profitability of the investment, i.e. the profit and benefits that we will get from it. In addition, it is worth seeking support – and therefore building a team of evangelists who will guide you through the implementation process step by step – and use the experiences of others and think about cooperation with external partners.
  2. When a company already uses Robotic Process Automation, it is good practice to focus on existing automation solutions. Existing processes can be extended with intelligent elements and existing solutions can be extended to an even larger area in the organization. Despite previous experience, it is also recommended to choose a partner that specializes in technology and will be able to support the implementation of Intelligent Automation. It is just as useful to conduct pilot implementations to test whether the technology is applicable in the enterprise.
  3. Once a company implements both RPA and Intelligent Automation, it becomes an automation leader. A recommendation for leaders is to connect with other leaders. Such partnerships allow us to jointly create things that are not yet on the market – and this definitely drives innovation. You can also focus on developing current solutions and optimizing processes for Intelligent Automation.

How to encourage employees to implement Intelligent Automation and how to organize such teams?

Based on Alphamoon’s experience, encouraging colleagues from a team to implement automation technology manifests itself through the following pattern.

  • Gathering materials on Intelligent Automation. These can be specialized articles, reports or materials from events focused on the topic. For people starting their adventure with automation, we recommend recording from the Alphamoon webinar on Intelligent Automation.
  • Selecting associates related to the topic of innovation in the enterprise or employees dealing with areas that have the potential for automation.
  • Distribution of materials to employees.
  • Finding an expert who comprehensively knows the concept of Intelligent Automation.
  • Organizing an internal meeting. The materials provided to colleagues and the expert’s knowledge will definitely help in the effectiveness of the meeting. Its aim should be to show the benefits of Intelligent Automation and to make people aware of the importance of using automation solutions in the enterprise.

Deloitte analysts examined the level of strategic support we can expect from particular stakeholder groups. We will receive support from the majority of them, and above all from the chief management, IT departments and people responsible for process development.

The level of strategic support for the implementation of Intelligent Automation by the enterprise is high in most stakeholder groups. Support can be expected primarily from the chief management and IT department.
Source: Deloitte, 2019:https://www2.deloitte.com/pl/pl/pages/technology/articles/raport-Inteligentna-Automatacja.html

A step further?

In addition to the above basic steps, you can go one step further. The next, but already advanced step is to create an internal team of evangelists who will spread knowledge among colleagues and deal with the implementation of pilot automatic systems. Such a team supports decision-making and advisory processes.

In addition to evangelists, it is worth thinking about building a network of partners and companies with whom you can share best practices.

If, after reading this article, you are still wondering how to start implementing Intelligent Automation in your enterprise, make an appointment with our specialist.